Islamabad, Nov 01: Prime Minister Gilani's admission that the nationalisation of schools and colleges in the early 1970s by the PPP's founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was a mistake is likely to revive debate on the topic. In real terms, the policy has effectively been rolled back over the past couple of decades and now private schools and colleges proliferate across the country. But the prime minister`s assertion is nevertheless important for two reasons: one, because reflection on policy issues is a much-needed quality that political parties rarely display; and two, because the wider state of education in Pakistan continues to remain dismal and requires serious attention.
The wave of nationalisation across Pakistan under Mr Bhutto - everything from banks to heavy industries to education - occurred in the context of an international lurch towards left-wing politics. It was fashionable, it was simplistic and it proved thoroughly ill-advised. The motivation behind nationalising the education sector was laudable - free education for all -but it ended up destroying quality institutions while creating a new avenue for corruption (`ghost schools`, for example). Benazir Bhutto appeared to understand the need to reverse many of her father`s policies and used her periods in power to embrace the neo-liberal paradigm: deregulation and privatisation. But while such shifts in national economic and social policy have had profound effects on citizens, there has been little debate on these matters. In part this is perhaps because of the personality-driven politics of Pakistan, where criticising a party leader, former or present, is considered sacrilege. Mr Bhutto`s policy choices in the 1970s continue to impact the economy and society in many ways today. If poor choices were once made, not being able to call a spade a spade, or a mistake a mistake, compounds the negative effects of those choices.
The second issue is that of the state of education in Pakistan: it is, to put it bluntly, quite dismal. The latest analysis, courtesy the State Bank`s annual report released recently, claims that while certain indicators have stabilised or improved slightly, Pakistan overall remains behind regional countries in the education sector. The report highlights a familiar litany of problems afflicting the sector: low female and rural literacy, low primary completion rate, high pupil-teacher ratio, inefficient budgetary allocation, limited physical infrastructure and lack of trained teachers. Following the 18th Amendment, which has introduced a new right to free and compulsory education for all children of age five to 16, the PPP has a unique opportuity: with education now a provincial subject and given the PPP`s presence in central and provincial governments, the party can lead the way on education-sector reforms.Your Comments
Students suffer as 3,000 posts of teachers lie vacant in govt schools
Peshawar: Facing shortage of around 3,000 Senior English Teachers (SETs) the government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have to wait for another one year to fill the gap and save precious time of the students, sources in the education department said on Saturday.
"Around 3,000 SET posts of grade-16 are lying vacant in the schools for the last few years," the sources said, adding that it was the responsibility of the Public Service Commission (PCS) to appoint these teachers.
They said that the Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) department had made requisition to the PCS in January 2009 to recruit the teachers. In February 2009, the commission advertised all the 3,000 requisitioned posts for which around 47,000 applications were received. However, with the lapse of over one year, the PCS has yet to initiate the appointment process.
The sources said that on the repeated requests of the E&SE department, the PCS had assured it to start the recruitment process from December 2010. "The commission has made five panels to interview about 75 candidates daily from December and if it invites at least five applicants for each vacancy and conduct tests and interviews of at least 15,000 candidates on the 3,000 vacant seats, the process could take almost a year," the sources said.
The shortage of such a large number of subject specialist teachers had been particularly hampering the studies of grade-9 and grade-10 students in the province.
In such a situation the school administrations usually engage arts teachers to teach science subjects, the task at times beyond their capabilities.
"Definitely, the ultimate sufferers are the government schools` students who often obtain low marks in Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations, which closes the door of higher education in good colleges on them," they said.
Director E&SE Sayada Sarwat Jehan, when contacted, said that she was worried about the shortage of teachers in high schools. "We are considering filling the vacant seats on ad hoc basis for a period of six months or a year till regular teachers are appointed by the PCS," she said.
Legislators in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly have been repeatedly demanding the government to appoint teachers on the vacant posts. Speaker Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmatti, in a ruling, also had directed the PCS to increase the number of its members to accelerate the recruitment process, but the wait for arrival of new subject specialists in government schools was still on. Dawn
AIOU exams from November 4
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) will hold examination for ATTC/PTC/CT and BEd programmes for the semester Spring 2010 from November 04.
AIOU Controller Examination Hafeezullah said that roll no slips of the students of the said programmes have been dispatched to their given addresses by postal mail service. He said all those students who may not receive their roll no slips by November 02 are advised to contact the nearest regional offices of the university or superintendent teacher education section, examination department for issuance of duplicate roll no slip. For this purpose, he said students are advised to bring two passport size photographs duly attested by the gazetted officer roll no slip along with date sheet has also been placed on AIOU web site. www.aiou.edu.pk for the information of the students.
Rootsians exhibit sportsmanship
Rawalpindi: Roots School System held its open day here on Saturday on the theme 'Sports for Peace' amidst enthusiasm and sportsmanship at all campuses nationwide including Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Wah Cantonment, Peshawar, Mirpur, Lahore, Gujranwala, Abbotabad, Sialkot and Muzzaffarabad.
The main purpose of Sports Day was to improve the health and well being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. The campuses were transformed into sports club with arrangements like victory stands, buntings and banners, display boards, racing tracks etc.
Students started their sports day with the march pass holding flags of their respective classes. They then presented aerobics followed by a Karate display. Rootsians exhibited commendable performance with their personal conduct and sportsman spirit. The daylong sports event included numerous games like football, cricket, tennis, table tennis, basketball and volleyball. The matches were held amongst the students of preparatory and senior branches. Equal opportunities were given to girls and boys.
The students of Montessori and Junior Schools competed in a variety of races like the Egg-A-Thon race, the drinking straw race, backward race, birdie feather race, picking of flowers, tunnel race, balloon bursting, three leg race, costume race, tug of war, penguin race, frog race, banana race, bunny's hopping race and obstacle race etc.
Indulging in sports either in team sports or dual and individual sports, leads to major boost in self-confidence. The ability to go on the field and perform instils a sense of self-confidence, which is very important for the development of a child's character. Moreover, the sport infuses an ability in children to accept defeat on and yet believe in their own capabilities bring a sense of positive attitude as well.
The closing of the event was marked with the distribution of trophies and certificates to the winners and participants by the chief guest Nadia Khan, TV anchor. "It was highly commendable on the part of students for participating in such an activity, which teaches them the importance of healthy competition, sportsmanship and physical fitness. Sports activities are indeed a great help to keep our children physically as well as mentally healthy," she said.
100 students of Govt School Kalyal adopted by Rootsians
Rawalpindi: The students of Roots School System, DHA Phase I, welcomed about hundred girls students from Kalyal Government School to a function that was arranged in their honour by the Liberating the Girl Child Foundation (LGCF) society at Roots.
MNA Nuzzat Siddiq and Roots School System Founder Director Riffat Mustaq graced the occasion with their presence and congratulated the school on once again achieving another milestone. What started as a community research project of a seventh grade student while she was at the People to People's leadership summit at Harvard University has today taken the shape of Liberating the Girl Child Foundation. Today Roots School System DHA has made community service compulsory for all the high school students. Each student is required to complete at-least 60 hours of community service and engagement in an academic year.
Liberating the Girl Child Foundation (LGCF) was formed with the aim to promote gender equality in education and to create awareness about the importance of educating and empowering the girl child through education. Under this programme different governments schools are to be adopted as 'sister schools' and the initial project has commenced by adoption of the Government School, Kalyal. The project not only aims to provide furniture and fixtures, but a complete learning environment to the government school adopted. Thus the LGCF team under the guidance of Neha Omair, LGCF president visited the Kalyal School to survey their needs. The LGCF team aims to strengthen the bond with the underprivileged schoolgirls by teaching them on weekly basis and looking after their needs.
This is singularly a students' initiative and is run on 'self-help' basis, the members of the LGCF have organised a fundraiser on October 30, 2010 to generate funds for the various community development projects.
Khadija Mustaq, Director Roots School, in her speech said: "We believe sharing is the essence of human relationships; Roots has taken this belief a step further by trying to evoke empathy and not only sympathy; thus it is not another act of philanthropy of which there is no dearth in our society. We aim to build an emotional connection by adopting the government schools, as sister schools and involving the students and teachers of these schools in different activities."
The Kalyal School girls were welcomed by the Rootsians to their school with open arms. Each girl was given a rose at the entrance. The entire school building was decorated with balloons, banners and buntings. While the girls arranged for bangles and jewellery for the students from Kalyal School, the boys made sure they played there part by bringing in chocolates and sweets. It was difficult to identify the sister school students from that of Roots School girls, as they sat together and enjoyed the magic show followed by band performances. The highlight of the function remained to be the performance by Uzair Jawal.
Community Service Programme has been introduced for the first time in any educational institution in Pakistan as a part of curriculum, with the aim to inculcate volunteerism, peace, harmony and tolerance. It is the dire need of our times that every individual recognises the respect for human rights and human dignity. This program has been launched with the view to create social awareness amongst the children Under the Roots Umbrella, on a self-help basis.
The day ended with an emotional goodbye when the Roots girls hugged their new friends and many young Kalyal schoolgirls had tears in their eyes, as they were over whelmed with love and affection. Their eyes were beaming with hope, but most importantly each one of them now had new aims in their hearts to continue to learn and not drop out of school. The news
College seeks retrieval of land
Rawalpindi: The administration of only degree commerce college in the district has sought help of National Accountability Bureau to retrieve its land from illegal occupants, it has been learnt.
The principal of Government Degree Commerce College for Boys, Satellite Town in his written request has asked the National Accountability Bureau authorities that certain people had occupied 20 kanals of land situated near the college.
According to the letter, the college administration has expressed its helplessness in removing the grabbers from this costly land, although it has drawn the attention of all the authorities concerned towards the problem."
A visit to the college revealed that a piece of land allotted to the college in 1982 has almost been grabbed by an area influential person and he was selling plots for residential purposes.
Principal of the college had been running from pillar to post to get hold of the college land as the alleged encroachers were busy in carrying out construction.
The land was allotted to the college by Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) as the whole area was the property of the authority that had cultivated a nursery of plants here.
The land was first grabbed by some people in 1986 but that possession was obtained through a clean up action in 1998, the document said.
The principal approved Rs850,000 for the construction of a boundary wall around the college land in 2003 but the provincial building department did not approve the site for any kind of construction saying the area had been filled with waste material and was not suitable for construction.
It was in 2005 that the college administration decided to erect the wall itself to safeguard the land as the academic block was situated on six kanal land only and the rest of the land was being trespassed. But the wall could not be erected owing to the resistance of the alleged grabbers.
The college administration in 2008 conveyed their problem to Punjab chief minister who directed the district coordination officer to look into the issue of college land.
Rawalpindi Development Authority on the direction of the DCO carried out the demarcation and declared the land was owned by the college but could not do anything to get back the possession,
The acting principal Amjad Nawaz Toor said they could not do anything to stop the construction as the case was pending before a court of law.
Hanif Butt the alleged grabber on the other hand maintained that he had not encroached upon the college land rather he had purchased the land from a man some four years ago. Dawn